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A Monthly Look into the World of a Wannabe Comics Penciler

Written by Mike Mumah on Thursday, November 30 2006 and posted in Features
Hey everyone, Mike Mumah has a new column on the site called The Writing on the Wall.  It should be a hoot! [...]

I’ve been spending the better part of my waking life chained to my drawing table. I wake up, grab a cup of coffee, dick around on the internet for ten minutes for all my cylinders to start firing, answer the email that crazy people sent me in the morning before I rise at the crack of noon. Then I draw for the rest of the day. Not just for a little while, but for the majority of the time until I finally go to bed. Usually around 5 or 6 a.m. I take the odd break here and there for a feeding or to drop a deuce. Depends on what’s more important.

Wolverine by Mike MumahYou’d think that I’d find this monotonous and boring, but I don’t. Under normal circumstances I might be typing “All work and no play makes Mumah go crazy” over and over again, but either I’ve gone crazy, or the fact that all the work I’ve been doing has been professional, commissioned, and allegedly involving a check that should allegedly arrive in my mailbox….someday. Freelance art at my level isn’t exactly what you’d call a “seller’s market.” Most of the publishers forget that most of their artists are wage slaves or lower and might need to pay a bill every once in a while, so the check shows up within a year or two.

Lately for me, things have been on a bit of an upswing. I’m in demand. I’m not doing any comics art yet, at least not professionally, but my Role-Playing illustration is blowing up, so much so that if I get any more work, I’ll have to start turning it away. Something I’ve looked forward to doing since the first day on my first job…ever. I’m suddenly a valuable commodity and I like it, but in order to keep up with demand and deadlines, it requires a lot of time. My wife likes that I’m home all the time, but dislikes that I spend it all in the office. Even my dog has been giving me that forsaken look that seems to say, “Why don’t you love me anymore, Daddy?” I always smile sympathetically, scratch behind her ear and say, “Because we didn’t get the dog I wanted. We got you instead.”

My social skills are in rapid decline due to my new routine. I don’t see anyone. Ever. I’ve noticed that I don’t converse with people quite so well since it takes me a minute to figure out someone is talking to me. I’m too busy waiting for the ringing noise my computer makes when I’ve been IMed. And I say LOL instead of laughing.

Last week, on the rare day I venture out into the public, I was in the mall, stopping into Panera Bread to take a leak. I strolled out at a fast clip. I had a meeting with a cup of Starbucks coffee and a magazine I wouldn’t have to pay for in the Barnes & Noble, so I moved with purpose. I was halfway to B & N when I realized there had been a girl in Panera Bread, she had been looking right at me, and we had made eye contact. She may have said hello. I had breezed right past her without saying a word, and I had looked her right in the eye. This was someone I knew. Granted, not someone I know well, but well enough to at least greet. She was one of my wife’s co-workers, and I was an asshole. Embarrassed, I carried out my mission and got a Toffee Nut Latte Grande and read my Entertainment Weekly.

Check with me monthly here in the Outhouse starting in January as I let you in on what’s like to be a Wannabe in the Industry. As usual, you can check out my artwork at http://www.mumah/ Go check out my gallery. Sign up at deviant and leave comments, or just yell at me here in the forums, or at

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Posted originally: 2006-11-30 16:42:39

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